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Dell accused of flaw coverup

Dell accused of flaw coverup

Dell stands accused of deleting threads highlighting issues with its E6400/E6500 laptops - and even banning users who complain.

Reports are circulating the web about performance and heat issues with a selection of Dell laptops - and the company appears to be doing its best to prevent anyone from finding out about the problem.

As reported over on DailyTech, users are complaining in droves about a bug in the BIOS of Dell E6400 and E6500 laptops which sees a thermal throttle kick in and drop the processor speed by a whopping 95 percent as soon as the processor gets even a little warm.

While the company is almost certainly working on an updated BIOS that will fix the issue, it clearly doesn't want to harm laptop sales in the lucrative run up to Christmas. As a result, posts from the official Dell Support forum documenting the issue have started to go missing. Users who insist on re-creating threads in order to further chase the problem find themselves banned from the site completely - and all their posts filed in the bit bucket.

One such user, who goes under the name "Tinkerdude," has become so enraged with both the issue and Dell's Big Brother-esque denials that he has released an analysis of the issue - titled "Performance loss during normal operating in a Dell Latitude E6500 laptop due to processor and bus clock throttling" - which almost hits sixty pages, was temporarily available in PDF form on a separate site but which also seems to have disappeared.

Although the performance throttling issue surrounding the E6400 and E6500 ranges is the most talked about issue currently facing the company, Dell is also facing more flak after it transpired that it had shipped inadequate power supplies with its top-end XPS 1645 laptops. The 90W supplies - which were provided instead of the 130W PSUs required - were inadequate to both power and charge the laptop at the same time, and although the company is replacing PSUs for those who complain many are clamoring for a widely publicised recall campaign.

Responding to the concerns about censorship on the Dell customer forums, representative Bill B from Dell's Social Media and Community department stated that the company is "aware of concerns raised" in the DailyTech article, and claimed that "teams are looking into the details." Beyond that, the company has not offered an explanation - nor an indication of when the issues with the laptops will be fixed.

Are you shocked to see Dell censoring comments in the manner, or is it their right to police their forums as they see fit? Are you affected by either of the issues currently doing the rounds in the Dell forums? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

30 Comments

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adam_bagpuss 3rd December 2009, 16:25 Quote
pretty typical play by a massive company. They think they are bigger than everyone and dont give a crap about customers. MAXIMISE SALES AT ALL COSTS.

i know there a profit making company but its a known fact that the bigger the company the less they care.

directly proportional i believe
tad2008 3rd December 2009, 16:34 Quote
Hence why, despite the recent ads on the run up to Christmas claiming that there is a "Dell for everyone", I never have or ever will buy a Dell or any other manufacturers pre-built PC as the time spent sourcing my own components and reading a number of reviews from trusted and reliable sources like here on Bit-Tech is worth so much more and have never had a bad build, the odd DOA or faulty component, but those are easily replaced.
shigllgetcha 3rd December 2009, 16:41 Quote
well they are laptops being talked about not desktops
badders 3rd December 2009, 16:47 Quote
Still makes me laugh when the Dell Laptop adverts come on the TV, showing Dells being made from Plasticine Turds.
stonedsurd 3rd December 2009, 16:51 Quote
Dell laptops are the pits. My XPS M1530 is supposed to be a gaming PC but it can't even handle TF2. Dell doesn't want to do anything about the fact that I can't rest my hands on it after using it for 2-3 hours.
ou7blaze 3rd December 2009, 16:53 Quote
I wish you could build your own laptops. I bet it's not as complicated as it sounds.
GoodBytes 3rd December 2009, 16:56 Quote
Well the problem on the Latitude E6400/6500 doesn't affect everyone.. mostly users with the Intel GPU.
Johnny Bravo 3rd December 2009, 16:58 Quote
first paragraph of the pdf - Problem effects XP install with SP3 - iirc these models shipped with Vista as standard (I know mine did) and installing XP was a PITA at the best of times (cus I tried). Me thinks this issue maybe effecting a minor group therefore?

Mind you Dell didnt handle this situation well at all at a forum level.
kenco_uk 3rd December 2009, 17:22 Quote
Fairly shocking tbh. Dell have been good at releasing bios updates though. Thankfully, my Vostro performs like a champ (touch wood) and only required a bit of driver hunting when under Vista x64 and 7.
yakyb 3rd December 2009, 18:19 Quote
is it just me that also thought about them going along with intels bribes
bbshammo 3rd December 2009, 19:04 Quote
That's Dell struck of my potential supplier list. For good. Can always tolerate the odd dodgy bit of kit from an otherwise decent brand, but not underhand tactics.

The former can be the result of any number of minor issues, but the latter tarnishes the entire brand, making every promise they make questionable.

All too often in the past couple of years we're hearing about firms going to such depths in all sorts of cases.

Maybe the leaner times mean firms are getting more desperate to protect sales.
GoodBytes 3rd December 2009, 21:18 Quote
Dell recently released a new BIOS for the Latitude E6400/6500. Some Dell developer is at notebookreview.com forum gathering user feedback on the issue.

My goal is not to advertise another forum.. just keep the situation updated.
http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=348221&page=39 (it start at the last post).
So, it's good that Dell is really ensuring that the problem is solved, and that no other issues occurs.
greigaitken 3rd December 2009, 21:22 Quote
I tried to buy a dell computer for family and was emailed saying it will take 3 weeks. i tried to cancel order (right after they told me 3 weeks) and they told me i couldnt all i could do was wait till it arrived and not accept delivery. Doesnt sound like good management policies to me. Unless it really means that much to them that they keep my money for another month
LionelatDell 3rd December 2009, 23:06 Quote
I can say that no user has been banned for talking about throttling concerns on the Dell Community. In general, some comments may be unpublished if they are a TOS violation (profanity, publishing private contact information, etc.), but short of that, we don't censor conversations.

Here is Dell's response to throttling over on Direct2Dell: http://en.community.dell.com/blogs/direct2dell/archive/2009/12/02/dell-on-laptops-and-throttling.aspx
Dave Lister 4th December 2009, 01:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ou7blaze
I wish you could build your own laptops. I bet it's not as complicated as it sounds.

I've read about people building there own - normaly from clevo parts but it is still very limited as to what bits go in.

As to the question of being shocked in the article, i'd have to say no. As most others have pointed out the bigger the company - the less they care about they customers. And there is definately a point in a company's expansion where they seem to be able to get away with that practise. Which is probably caused by other large company's bulk purchasing crap systems to get what they think is a good deal upgrading.

I wonder if dell's buisness ethics also affect alienware these days !
tk421 4th December 2009, 12:29 Quote
i hate to see people treat Dell as if they were a single company. Dell is a Brand™. i really hate to see people bash Dell on the assumption that every machine they build being exactly like that $299 celeron powered (underpowered?) P.O.S. that their technologically challenged family member bought.

i administer about 600 laptops and about 1300 desktops. every single one, a Dell. yes, they have some problems. the GX620 USFF chassis is horrible, especially if your end users are not cleaning them properly, or if the contractors that set them up crammed the cables into the cable cover on the back completely blocking airflow.

don't get me started on the ones that think a laptop and shag carpet should even be in the same room.

but overall, even a full year out of warranty, these desktops are still running in fairly hostile environments. our company has experienced a failure rate of about 4% on them - mostly blown caps due to heat. not bad on a 4 year run.

as for the e6400 heat issue, while we only have about 40 of them in the environment currently, we have had no complaints yet. the e5400 power issues (screen goes nuts on dock/undock) have led us to move to the 6400's for everyone.

whenever we have an issue, we just email our account manager, and he deals with the internal tech people, and gets the right person in contact with us. our old Systems manager is now our Dell server rep ... that tends to expedite things too.

but to outright say "Dell is evil" from a small issue like this, is fairly ludicrous.

</rant>
Andy Mc 4th December 2009, 14:31 Quote
Quote:
As a result, posts from the official Dell Support forum documenting the issue have started to go missing. Users who insist on re-creating threads in order to further chase the problem find themselves banned from the site completely - and all their posts filed in the bit bucket.

And heres me thinking that only overclockers.co.uk resorted to that level of pettiness?
hrtz_Junkie 4th December 2009, 16:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ou7blaze
I wish you could build your own laptops. I bet it's not as complicated as it sounds.

As far as I'm awaire you can build yor own laptops. It was covered in an issue off custom pc but I forget the issue number.

As far as Dell sensoring post's, It come's as no surprise seeing as we live in a society wich places the right's off large company's on the same level (or even above) the right's of the individual human being!!!

It IS wrong but it's hard to blame dell to much, they are after all competing with other company's who given half a chance will do exactly the same thing.

If we want things like this to change we really need to look at the big picture and fundamentally change the sytem.

Singaling out one company (when there all as bad as one another) is a bit unfair,,,,but hey if the shoe fit's !?!

(either that or use it to slap the face off any dell reps you might bump into XD)
GoodBytes 4th December 2009, 17:35 Quote
Creative used to this with the X-Fi Vista issue. The box said Vista ready... but Creative refused to make Vista drivers in favor in releasing a new version of the X-Fi sound card with Vista drivers. I think what Creative did... is far worse than Dell's. At least Dell, doesn't release a new laptop where the problem is solved and say "go buy it!, your not getting it for free".

Apple did the same thing with the iPod Nano scratch issue.
Bindibadgi 4th December 2009, 17:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by LionelatDell
I can say that no user has been banned for talking about throttling concerns on the Dell Community. In general, some comments may be unpublished if they are a TOS violation (profanity, publishing private contact information, etc.), but short of that, we don't censor conversations.

Here is Dell's response to throttling over on Direct2Dell: http://en.community.dell.com/blogs/direct2dell/archive/2009/12/02/dell-on-laptops-and-throttling.aspx

Hi Lionel Menchaca!

Did you just drop in as a regular reader or are you busy firefighting the net? ;) :)
Quote:
Originally Posted by from Lionel's blog
Previous BIOS revisions for some platforms were not optimized for certain extreme operating conditions.

Windows XP is an extreme operating system? :?
Xtrafresh 4th December 2009, 21:34 Quote
Deleting valid complaints instead of just dealing with them in an open way is about the worst a company can do. It's also the reason i never buy any Dell stuff for me or friends and family. I've seen how good dell corporate support is, so the fact it's such utter tripe for consumers means the CHOOSE that level of service.
Paolo 5th December 2009, 18:45 Quote
I think the laptop I use at work has this problem, I thought I was just throwing too much at it!

A few instances of Visual Studio + ASP.Net dev server up, plus SQL Server + dual monitor looks to do the trick.

Is there a tool (CPU profiler etc) I can grab to confirm this is what's causing my laptop's dire performance?
GoodBytes 5th December 2009, 19:28 Quote
I use Everest (not free.. but trial version will do). You can see anything you want to know about your computer. If it throttles you will notice the CPU stuck at a very low speed no mater what you do.

You can even do a stress test. To do this , go on the menu bar of Everest, go to "Tools" > "System stability test". And run it. It can test everything expect GPU.
Initialised 5th December 2009, 22:51 Quote
Try OCCT, it generates graphs or voltages, clock speed and temperatures as the test runs and displays them at the end.
benji2412 5th December 2009, 23:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by LionelatDell
I can say that no user has been banned for talking about throttling concerns on the Dell Community. In general, some comments may be unpublished if they are a TOS violation (profanity, publishing private contact information, etc.), but short of that, we don't censor conversations.

Here is Dell's response to throttling over on Direct2Dell: http://en.community.dell.com/blogs/direct2dell/archive/2009/12/02/dell-on-laptops-and-throttling.aspx

That comment is about as welcome here as your PCs. Also can you please use better components in your PSUs? I'm getting fed up of replacing them at work......
dream caster 6th December 2009, 16:58 Quote
I live in Chile, right in the middle of Atacama desert, the "driest place on Earth".
For me me there was, for a long time a bad trilogy, Pinochet, Microsoft and CTC (the chilean branch of Telefonica, the big spanish comunications holding).
They represented for me how frequently people who feel they are above any possibility of threat to their position do not care for others.
I had to live with the three of them.
But there is hope.
Telefonica is much more amiable now. I must say it is not THE one big phone company in Chile; they have enough competition now;
the other two do not bother me now either.

Bit-tech is behaving well in this respect, harsh critics in forums have not been hushed. (look here)

I don't forgive some companies. I think that if they don't say "i'm sorry" I won't ever buy an Nvidia or Intel product.

I just cannot stand in my guts having an Nvidia card after they doctored their drivers to process benchmarks incompletely and so have better fps;
I cannot stand the way Intel abused AMD.
--ATI also cheated but they did say "sorry"--
GoodBytes 6th December 2009, 17:14 Quote
Yes, ATI did say sorry, but continues to do it.. so they are worse.. they are hypocrites.

A business is ONLY successful by taking advantage of people. Imagine if Best Buy actually sold their product 10-15% over cost and have employee (including bonuses) without commission, and offered fair price on GeekSquad services. Best Buy will portable go bankrupt, or be a fraction of the size they are now (maybe 2-3 stores in US and Canada). I know no one cares about Bets Buy.. but I am just showing that the principal of business is based on taking advantage of people.

And as long as people go and buy a product at a certain price... why reduce it? why change what the company would change it's non ethical moves?
kondor999 7th December 2009, 09:17 Quote
I was banned from the AMD games forum site for gently expressing disappointment that the latest drivers on ATI's site at the time did not even support the 58xx series.

The mods there are exceptionally high-handed and will seemingly ban anyone with the temerity to disagree with them, or question ATI/AMD in any way.

There is no right to free speech in a corporate dystopia. Thank God there's a Bill of Rights here in the US.

I'll be selling my dual 5870's when Fermi comes out. I never had issues like this with Nvidia, which - although not perfect- seems to genuinely like and value their customers.

PS - I've owned a Dremel for 15 years now. WTF is the deal with my descriptor?! lol
Xir 7th December 2009, 12:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by tk421
i really hate to see people bash Dell on the assumption that every machine they build being exactly like that $299 celeron powered (underpowered?) P.O.S. that their technologically challenged family member bought.
...
whenever we have an issue, we just email our account manager, and he deals with the internal tech people, and gets the right person in contact with us. our old Systems manager is now our Dell server rep ... that tends to expedite things too.

but to outright say "Dell is evil" from a small issue like this, is fairly ludicrous.
</rant>

Yeah...you represent close to 2000 Dell's...try talking to your "account Manager" when you own one and it breaks :D

Still I'll probably get a Dell as it's near impossible to get anything else in a mediocre pricerange without a "Gloss" panel.
cybergenics 7th December 2009, 17:05 Quote
This is an obvious design fault or what have you..but I can't think of any major PC vendor that hasn't has this problem. I have an HP, which is supposed to be a business notebook and it looks like it was made from recycled fertiliser sacks and 2 litre pop bottles, in fact that is not fair, a 2 litre pop bottle probably doesn't flex as much. Then the Macbook Pro I bought in September is on its third incarnation, the first two must have been in quality control when Red Robbo and Ned Ludd were shift managers.

I just got a Dell Studio 1557 for myself, the Macbook wore my patience down, and i've ended up with a laptop which is easily twice as graphical powerful (9400m vs 4570) and CPU wise its running a Core i7 720. Whilst its not perfect, looks pretty built, does turn itself off in a game if you have Powerplay disabled in CCC though and does get pretty hot, but its made a hell of a lot better than the HP and it hasn't broken down like the Apple. The screen is something else, pic quality wise.

Ok, not all Dell's are fault free, not all HP's are made badly and not all Apple's go wrong. But some do, and they are the ones that will get everyone talking, and quite rightly.
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